put-and-take, valentines, & zombies.

Middle school dances are the best. No, seriously. The best.

I volunteered to chaperone our middle school Valentine’s Day dance, and I am so incredibly happy that I did. What a hilarious, awkward, and fun way to kick off my weekend! I’ll be honest, I wasn’t exactly looking forward to it (who would?), but 15 minutes in and a dance circle later (with three colleagues and me tearin’ it up in the middle), I was thrilled to be there.

Saturday consisted of two naps (yep, TWO!), and a friend’s birthday party where, somehow, I ended up winning several games of put-and-take and LCR. Don’t be amazed…it doesn’t take much skill. I’m not that good.

Sunday, which was supposed to be a day of Valentine’s festivities, ended up being a day of pizza, a Walking Dead marathon, and falafel shaped hearts with ranch dip, followed by several hours of Guy’s Grocery Games and an early bedtime.

And, to be honest? I’ll take that over a fancy dinner any day. Those last minute plans usually end up being the best.

Though there were parts of this weekend that were bittersweet, for sure. Maybe it’s because Valentine’s Day is usually surrounded by flowers, chocolates, fancy dinners, and the like, that I was just in an unusually mellow mood for the majority of Saturday. Not to mention, conversations were had in which I, unfortunately, shared doubts about ever wanting to be married.

Don’t get me wrong. My whole life, all I’ve wanted is a family. Love. Mundane trips to the grocery store. Late night fights when, even though I don’t want to, I apologize and snuggle up to my hubs because I don’t want to go to bed angry (one of my cardinal rules). Messy hair and no makeup, staying up with my babies when they’re sick, impromptu road trips to see family and friends when we have a rare, free weekend. Cancelled Valentine’s Day plans in favor of pizza with our kids and a G-rated movie.

See, unlike so many, I’m looking so far beyond a wedding. I want(ed) a life with someone. I want(ed) to love and to be loved without reservation, obligation, condition. And sure, people can say that what I’ve been through in the last year and a half proves that I’m “brave” and “independent” and “strong”.

But you know what? Sometimes it doesn’t feel that way.

Sometimes it feels like I made some pretty stupid mistakes. Sometimes it feels like I won’t ever want those things again — the trips to the grocery store, the 3 am feedings, the work (and joy) of supporting my spouse through trials and tribulations of the worst variety — because right now, I don’t want them. At all. They scare me. I’m terrified of ever having those things, because I don’t want to watch it all crumble down around me and find out I was wrong. That those feelings, thoughts, words, dreams, don’t actually exist and everyone I’ve ever seen who has a relationship like that is just putting on a front. Because how am I to know? I thought I was right before.

So right now, I’m enjoying where I am, with the hope that, in a few years, I’ll be less jaded. I hate being jaded. I hate admitting that I’m jaded. I hate that it’s affecting those I love and those who have supported me through the last few years.

I’m enjoying where I am, who I’m with; I’m enjoying my friends and my family; I’m enjoying the time I’m getting with my nieces (and having them all to myself!); I’m enjoying the investment I can give to Arbonne and the freedom that comes with being alone (want to go on a road trip? do it! want to grab a drink with that friend? just give me a time! want to lay on the couch and snuggle with Lucy? no judgment!). I’m enjoying being in bed at the end of a long day, alone, reveling in Lucy’s amusement with chasing and pawing at my feet under the covers as I move them in front of her. 😜

You know what’s underrated? Having a queen-sized bed to yourself. Going to sleep on the weekends and not setting an alarm, and not being woken up by someone else’s. Not worrying about what I’m wearing, or my current haircut, or if my makeup isn’t to someone’s liking (high-waisted jeans and rompers, I’m comin’ for you! I think every guy HATES those, ha!). Taking yoga classes. Volunteering. Going out to dinner or out for coffee alone. Sitting and feeling. Just…feeling.

Emo-rant is over now. Just wanted to share, and as I typed, it seemed more and more like the words just came without much effort. If you made it this far, thanks for reading and sticking with me! 😊 And thank you to those of you who made my Valentine’s Day truly special — because it really, truly was. I enjoyed every minute of it.






sharing is caring.

I’m stealing this post from my teaching blog in order to spread the word to more friends:

Today was crazy with our NJHS fundraiser for Komensky! (Don’t know what I’m talking about? Scroll down and I’ll show you.) We sold so. many. valentines. I’m anxious to see what the results are as the week rolls on! For those of you who aren’t aware, Komensky is working to raise money for an all-inclusive playground where ALL of their students, even those with physical handicaps, are able to play. What an awesome cause, and what a way for us to give back to our community and fellow students.

To find out more, see their Go Fund Me site.

And for a news article? <– click away!

**If you have no idea what I’m talking about, my National Junior Honor Society kids are raising this money to provide an all-inclusive playground for one of our elementary schools in District 100. We decided that, for the month of February, our fundraising efforts are going to be in the form of “Candy Grams”…aka, buy candy for a friend/teacher/loveofyourlife, have it delivered on Friday morning. So far, we’re doing pretty well! I posted these pictures on our school’s social media site to promote sales:

…and I think they were pretty effective. At least, the kids seemed to think they were hilarious. I also SHAMELESSLY touted the fact that we’re selling candy, even though our school is all about health and wellness…whoops. 😳 I had to laugh on receiving an email from a colleague with the message, “Healthiest Schoology message ever…” Ha. He was kidding, of course. All in good fun. We all want the best for our little friends at Komensky! Please donate if you can!


you can’t reach a mountaintop from a mountaintop

aunaturalOkay guys, real talk: see attached image of what I currently look like. Messy top knot, glasses, no makeup, scary sweatpants (shoot, you can’t see those, can you?).

Welp, that’s why this is NOT a beauty blog.

My day started at 5:15 with a pretty intense workout, continued at work navigating the first day of a fundraiser (think: middle school, valentines, candy…then stop before the horror sets in) for NJHS, taught 6 class periods of English Language Arts, tutored for 2 hours, then drove to Schaumburg for our monthly Discover Arbonne meeting. And now? Well, now I’m eating lentil soup and pretzel crackers. I told you, real talk!

What’s the point of this first post (nothing like launching right into the chaos that is my daily schedule)? To explain why I’m going to bed with a smile on my face and with a full heart.

Even amongst the craziness and whirlwind days, I find solace and peace when I walk into a room full of those who love Arbonne. I know, I know, nothing’s perfect — and, Arbonne never claimed to be — but, aside from their amazing products that aim to change lives drastically and positively, the culture and climate that is associated with Arbonne and those associated with it, well…it’s astounding. I can think of a list of adjectives that may only begin to describe an Arbonne atmosphere:

compassionate, genuine, enthusiastic, caring, encouraging, positive, motivating, validating, insightful, knowledgable, driven, determined, comforting, peaceful…and it goes on and on.

How can one community, one culture, one group, one family, be all of those things? How can a group of individuals be both driven AND peaceful? Push you outside of a comfort zone AND be comforting? It’s incredible, really. The feeling of peace that came over me as I entered the room tonight and saw all of those familiar faces — the faces that have guided me and supported me through some serious life trials — was nothing short of overwhelming.

Not every post on this blog is going to be Arbonne-related. It’s more of an outlet for me, a way for others to stay afloat with what’s going on with me, a way for me to document my musings. But, if you know me, then you know my passion for Arbonne, and tonight, these are my thoughts and musings. Please understand, though, that it is so much more than product for anyone and everyone associated with Arbonne. It is so much about love, health, and wholeness. It is so much about how we can help others and how we can change lives for the better, in any number of capacities. So forgive me if I talk about it incessantly or ask you for the 14th time if there’s any sample you want to try. It’s just that, I’ve seen the effect Arbonne has had on me so far beyond the use of the product, that I just want to share that with anyone I can. And, as Lisa (one of my many amazing mentors) quoted from the book Brave Enough, “We don’t reach the mountaintop from the mountaintop.”

I’m just starting my climb, you guys. But I’ll tell you, I plan on getting to the top…and I can’t wait to see what’s waiting there.